Statto: Sean Mc Caffreys last game as manager of Under 17 side.
Statement from the FAI Sean McCaffrey has spent almost seven years in charge of the Under-17, 18 and 19 squads and before that worked as a development officer for the Association since 1999, based in Monaghan. During his reign as Ireland youth boss, a number of current senior international players came through his squads. In March of 2008 he guided the Under-17s to the European Championships, having also won a number of friendly tournaments between 2005 and 2007.
John Morling, the current Under-15 / 16 head coach, and former Peterborough United manager, will now become the Under-16 / 17 head coach and Niall Harrison will be appointed as new Under-15 head coach. Morling will take charge of the Under-17 squad for the first time at the first phase of the UEFA Under-17 championship qualifiers, starting on September 25 against Malta.
The Under-18 and Under-19 position will be advertised from tomorrow and a new head coach will be appointed ahead of the first phase of the UEFA Under-19 championship qualifiers, starting on October 7 against Luxembourg in Bulgaria.
Speaking today, Wim Koevermans, the FAI’s Director of International High Performance said:
“We thank Sean for the service he has given to the Association and the development of our young players. After almost seven years in charge and with his contract expiring at the end of this year, the time is now right for a change of hands. The new Under-18 / Under-19 position will be advertised from tomorrow and we intend to make this appointment by the end of September. I take this opportunity to wish Sean every success for the future.”
The Republic of Ireland Under-17s played three games at the eight-nation Hungarian invitational tournament last week, concluding with a defeat to Serbia in Saturdays third/fourth place play-off.
The tournament acted as warm up for the Under-17 UEFA first phase qualifiers next month when Ireland battle it out with Albania, Norway and mini-group hosts Malta for the two berths into the elite phase.
Sean McCaffreys side opened their campaign in Hungary with a 1-0 win against Croatia last Wednesday which was secured by a second half winner from Reading striker James Murphy.
That win booked them a semi-final slot against the host nation the following day. Sam Byrne volleyed the Irish into the lead and they held out until two minutes from the end when Hungary equalised against the run of play. The resultant penalty shoot-out saw Hungary prevail 4-2 and earn a place in Saturday final.
The result meant Ireland faced the other losing semi-finalist Serbia in the play-off on Saturday. McCaffreys charges enjoyed spells of pressure during a physical encounter but ended up on the wrong end of a three-nil score-line.
"It was a productive week for the players and staff," said McCaffrey afterwards. "The week in Hungary provided us with time to get our message across to the players about the system and style we operate.
"There were some excellent individual performances. It is now about trying to get the balance right across the squad for when we go to Malta for the qualifiers."
Republic of Ireland Under-17 squad: Joe Coll (Manchester United), Ian Lawler (Manchester City), Sean Cavanaugh (Belvedere), Luke Gallagher (Cherry Orchard), Pierce Sweeney (Belvedere), Joe O Brien (Salthill Devon), Colm Horgan (Salthill Devon), Tommy Hoban (Watford), Conor Pepper (Portmarnock), Kenneth McEvoy (Tottenham Hotspur), Gareth Brady (Belvedere), Ciaran Doyne (St. Kevin‘s Boys), Darragh Lenihan (Belvedere), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Carel TioFack (Ipswich Town), James Murphy (Reading), Philip Roberts (Arsenal), Sam Byrne (St Josephs Boys).
Wednesday August 4:
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Croatia
Thursday August 5:
Hungary 1-1 Republic of Ireland (4-2 on pens)
Saturday August 7:
Republic of Ireland 0-3 Serbia.